Weekly Speak CEO Column
LGAQ digs its heels in
By LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam AM
For all this shortened week, the LGAQ has doubled down on our support of the so-called ‘Trad amendments’ currently before State Parliament.
On Wednesday, we met with a representative of the Queensland Law Society. The QLS has shown equal disdain for the Crime and Corruption Commission’s (CCC) attempt to remove the need for the prosecution to prove criminal intent with respect to new conflict of interest offences that will affect elected members of both levels of government.
Indeed, I’ve been buoyed by the public and private support the LGAQ has received from right across all facets of the state’s legal community, including former Attorneys-General.
We are on the side of the angels in this matter.
The LGAQ has welcomed a decision by the Parliamentary Economics and Governance Committee to make further submissions by today on the CCC's proposal to remove the 200-year-old common law mens rea defence on intent.
We certainly gave it another red-hot-go on your behalf; we have left nothing unsaid.
It beggars belief that the CCC can call on no-less than the Parliament to account on its legislative mandate; it’s the House’s sole prerogative to frame and pass laws governing our state.
How many chops at the legislation do they want? What comes next in relation to the sovereignty of the Parliament?
The LGAQ has also been in deep discussion with the State Government regarding the draft regulation on informal meetings (circulated to councils just a few weeks back). As is our want, rather than berate the Government we have been working co-operatively and assiduously to improve the regulation; pointing out some of the impracticalities of definitions of informal meetings such as being unable to urgently meet with the Premier or Prime Minister because council had not passed a resolution declaring it to be an informal meeting.
Ditto, making all council inspections public. Queensland's a bloody big state and it wouldn’t be apparent to decision-makers in Brisbane that the Cook Shire’s annual road inspection takes seven days and involves councillors and staff sleeping rough.
Many other rural and remote shires have similar experiences. Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) with its 17 island communities springs to mind. Then there’s the proposal for on-site meetings for DA discussions, a number that could see hundreds of members of the public strewn across some of the busiest and most dangerous intersections in the state.
As I said, to their credit, the Government is talking with and listening to us regarding the regulation. Can I also acknowledge the great work the Local Government Managers Association has done in this space, thank you to Mr Brett de Chastel.
Finally, it is great to see a good old-fashioned North Queensland monsoon settle in this week, even spreading into the central west.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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